Some Books

All of a sudden, I’ve been consuming books voraciously. This, after a long, dry lull, where I grew impatient with books and gave up on reading quite a few.

Here are some thoughts on the books I’ve been reading.

The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht: What an absolutely lovely book just for the way it is written. The writing is brilliant, superlative; practically every sentence was a beaut. The story was woven intricately and kept me completely engrossed. When I finished it, I had to literally come up for air. I can’t say I grasped its essence wholly; it was like incense that fills the air with its heady perfume and then disappears without a trace. If this is her debut book, how will she ever surpass it?

Blindness by Jose Saramago: What struck me most was the style of writing. The paragraphs just ran on and on. The central idea was novel, and though it held up a mirror to society in a sense, it didn’t enthrall me completely. I guess in a society which is more ordered, it would shock and horrify. But living as we are, with a very thin line between chaos and order, it did not exactly make me shocked or upset. The other thing which it made me wonder about was the effect of translation and how much gets lost or preserved in this process.

The Return of the Dancing Master by Henning Mankell: I first heard about Mankell when I was reading something about Stieg Larsson whose trilogy had become a sensation. It was something to the effect that Mankell was a far superior writer. This made me curious and I went on a Mankell binge. Suffice it to say, I LOVED the books. Kurt Wallander became a character very dear to me. The Return of the Dancing Master is not a Kurt Wallander book, it introduces a new detective – Stefan Lindman. It opens with him being diagnosed with cancer, and then plunges both him and us into a double murder. By now, being a bit more familiar with the style of writing, I guessed where it was going, but still it was a delight. This is again a translation, and again I wondered at the flavour that was coming through.

The Realm of Hungry Spirits by Lorraine Lopez: A delightful light read, perfect for a movie. All the elements are there in the right proportion. The main character Marina is a magnet for the troubled and her house is full of souls who have lost their way. The characters are so well etched and there’s plenty of emotion. I can easily imagine this in an Indian setting.

I think I’ll stop here because there are too many books I want to write about. Perhaps another post. But I must admit that I pinched Matilda from Lil D’s collection one night, and had such a ball reading it! The most interesting tidbits regarding both Roald Dahl and the illustrator Quentin Blake were an education. Nothing to chase away the blues better than the old favourites, no? 🙂

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